Cruise Wonderland >> My Cruise Voyages >> Golden Princess (2012 August) >> Review (Cuisine)


Food is one of the main elements on cruise ships. During the days at sea, you may have 5 meals, or even more, in various restaurants onboard from day to night. Thus, the standard of dining constitutes an important factor to the quality of cruise vacation.

On all of our previous cruises, we always opted for second seating for dinner. This time we were pre-assigned for Anytime Dining by our travel agent. Even though it was possible to switch to Traditional Dining by requesting through the Maître d'Hôtel on the first night, we still decided to choose open seating for the first time because of the cruise schedule. Since the ship would be in the port of Juneau and Victoria until 21:30 and 23:30 respectively, Anytime Dining allowed us to stay ashore longer for greater flexibility. We could get back onboard the ship at around 21:00 and enter the dining room later.

Both Donatello Dining Room (Deck 6 midships) and Bernini Dining Room (Deck 5 midships) were open for Anytime Dining with same menus, but we usually went to the former one. Donatello is located directly above Bernini, but they are not interconnected as on some ships of other cruise lines. Together with the asymmetric and multi-tiered layout, an intimate and small-ship atmosphere can be created.

There are tables for two, four, six, eight and ten, in which the large availability of two-person table is of increasing popularity in modern-day cruising. No matter what time we entered the restaurant, we could always have a small table without sharing with others. These tables are mostly located in the central area that has no ocean view.

Dinner was in different themes every evening, and so the menus varied. Compared with European cruise lines, the dishes on American cruise ships had bigger portions. Steak items were the most common choices. The desserts are quite plain with not much decoration. Nevertheless, all the courses were delicious particularly those in the formal nights.

Waiters in the dining rooms come from many different nations around the world, but most are Filipinos (and some Mexicans). They were friendly and attentive, and always understand our needs immediately. Many of them were especially interested to chat with us, probably we were quite easy to recognize as Asians and as young passengers.

For a less formal dining experience, guests can go to the Horizon Court buffet restaurant that was open from early till late. A wide selection of worldwide food was prepared in each meal every day. It has a large number of seats and two sides of food collection area. Many guests can be accommodated at the same time without waiting.

Even more casual dining spots are the poolside snack bars, including a pizzeria, a grill and an ice cream bar. They are ideal places to have light snacks after some outdoor exercises.

In The Piazza, the new International Café is open 24 hours for snacks. Since it is located close to our cabin, we loved to go there to have some pastries when we felt hungry at midnight. It is also good for passengers to have a cup of coffee in the atrium and at the same time watching the performances there. It is free of charge and quite a lot of choices are offered at different time in a day.

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